By PATRICK SLACK
Jordan Petrone had to sit out of the pole vault most of his senior season with knee pain.
Down to the final meet at Wednesday’s opening day of the Section 8AA championships, though, the Little Falls standout stepped up.
Or rather, vaulted up.
Matching his career-best height of 12-feet, 11-inches, Petrone soared a full half foot above the rest of the field, taking home the section championship, and with it, a berth to the state meet.
“Jordan had struggled a bit this year with some knee pain and took a step back from the vault for a few meets,” Little Falls boys head coach Jeff Massmann said. “We were not surprised by his finish. In fact, coach (Paul) Roach told me before the meet that JP might win it.
“We expect all our seniors to step up in the big meets and his experience from last year’s meet served him well,” he said. “The pole vault has been a very strong event for us and we felt we had three guys who would have a chance to win that event and Jordan seized the opportunity.”
Junior Daniel Mushel was the next-best finisher for the Flyers on the day, earning fifth in the pole vault with a height of 11-feet, 11-inches.
Junior Sebastian Sowada earned sixth in the 3,200-meter run (10:11.13) and junior Mathew Massmann took eighth (10:19.29), with senior Travis Spillum taking eighth place in the long jump (19-feet, 10.25-inches).
Senior Amber Hines led the Little Falls girls in day one with a sixth-place throw of 109-feet, 1-inch in the discus, with senior Mattia Hendrickson earning 10th in the 3,200 (12:01.2).
The first day of the section meet was held in Detroit Lakes, with the majority of event finals scheduled to take place in the meet’s final day of competition at Sartell, Friday.